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Horror in Mumbai

A series of blasts on commuter trains, killing scores…Catholic blogger Gashwin Gomes is in India now:

I am still numb from shock at what has transpired in my beloved Bombay. Bombay is in my bones. This is heartbreaking. Like having something ripped out of your soul. And, oh Lord! I’m so angry!

I recall that spring day back in 1993 with crystal clarity. We were leaving college, and I looked up to the left and saw a plume of black smoke darkening the sky, from th Stock Exchange. Ambulances and fire engines screaming up Mahapalika Marg. The gaping hole in the Air India building. The crater at Century Bazaar. It’s what immediately came to mind when I first heard about 9/11. And Madrid. And London. It’s etched in the brain, hard-wired. Heart beat increasing. Adrenalin pumping. This is terror. This is the power of evil. An ordinary day stained red. Life twisted and broken and shattered.

Besides the good links Gashwin provides, keep an eye on AsiaNews for reactions and statements from Catholic leaders.

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Tom Haessler

posted July 12, 2006 at 12:54 am

Check out Robert Spencer’s Jihadwatch for detailed information about this tragedy which is another sad chapter in the many centuries long attack on Indians (a peaceful people that has not attacked other countries) by Muslims. Will Durant gives detailed information about the many, many millions of Hindus killed by Muslims over the centuries. Tragically, nothing is new here.

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posted July 12, 2006 at 2:11 am

Y’all, thanks for the prayers.
Tom, one has to be a little more nuanced than that, I feel. Yes, the history of Islam in the subcontinent is quite tortured. But, the rhetoric of “aggressive Muslims vs. peaceful Hindus” isn’t complete. It’s dangerously one-sided, and sounds way too much like the hate-filled spewings of the Hindu nationalist BJP-RSS. They portray Muslims in the worst possible light. As they do Christians.
As far as I’m concerned, Islam is very much woven into the fabric of India. Indian Islam has its own tenor and flavor … and India is home to some 130 million Muslims (the second largest Muslim country in the world), who aren’t all jihadists.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not of the “Islam is a religion of peace” view. But, this isn’t just about Islam. It’s as much about Kashmiri politics, and our friends across the border in Pakistan.
What we’re most worried about here is just such rhetoric that might spill into anti-Muslim pogroms (we all remember Gujarat in 2002 too well) which could spiral into sectarian violence across the land. It’s unlikely it’ll start in Bombay (heck, the trains are back up. My friends are back at work. Life limps back to normal. The indomitable Mumbaikar spirit and all that …) but that would be exactly what the terorists want.
Meanwhile, I’m waiting for leaders of all religions, incluidng Muslims, to stand up to this cowardly act and condemn it in no uncertain terms.

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Clare Krishan

posted July 12, 2006 at 2:19 am

Blasts on Western Line, which begins at Churchgate named for the church there dedicated to St. Thomas (apostle-evangelist of India) and center on Santa Cruz extending to Portuguese-established Bhayandar. Consider King’s Cross and Atocha. There’s method in their madness. The medium is the message aimed at Christianity. Pray for the souls of the departed and that the Mercy of God sustain the bereaved and wounded in their deepest needs.
          Our Lady of Nazareth gain wisdom for our civic leaders, Our Lady of Egypt help those serving the communities under crisis perservere, Mar Thoma help us trust in His Peace.

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Tom Haessler

posted July 12, 2006 at 10:30 am

Hello, Gashwin,
Of course, there are Hindu extremists who’ve attacked Muslims and Christians in India. My post attempted to draw attention to the fact that support for Bin Laden, suicide bombing, and Jihad – is NOT confined to a small minority of Muslims but rather many millions throughout the world. For starters, we have the recent Pew research.
Notice that Pew is optimistic about the fact that now ONLY 38% of Pakistanis support Bin Laden and Jihad (as opposed to the 51% in 2005!).
Of course, not all Muslims in India are Jihadists. But if even only one percent support Jihad and Al Qaida, we’re talking about a million and a third! The view that Islamists are to Islam as the Ku Klux Klan is to Christianity is not supported by the numbers.
Far from demonizing Jihadists, I can understand how they’re views can be supported by the Quran and the Hadith. They have to be stopped, but it’s quite possible that they’re in good faith. As many scholars (like Lewis) have insisted, there’s plenty of ammunition for the theological views of the Jihadists in the sources, and negligible support for “moderate” Islam.
The concern of my post was to insist that we’re NOT fighting a tactic (terrormism) Such a view is myopic. This is a defensive struggle against Jihadism and Islamism which has millions of adherents throughout the world. Fourteen percent of British Muslims support suicide bombing and armed struggle against the West. And where do the three thousand mosques in American get their financial support? Very many from Saudi Arabia that continues to teach hatred of Jews and Christians in their textbooks at all levels.
I’ve been involved here in Milwaukee with trialogues (Jews, Christians, Muslims)and have heard it explained that when Muslims become fifty-one percent of the American population, Sharia will replace the Constitution. I was not surprised that Muslims would say this, but I was astonished that some of the Protestants thought that this was just democracy!
I’ve noticed that many of the accounts of the bombings in India don’t even use the word “Muslim” or “Islam” even once.
Finally, my friend, Kasmiri politics is ALL about Islam! Thousands of women languish in Pakistani jails for the crime of being raped. Why should anyone not strongly oppose the extension of such oppression to another sector of Asia? And Pakistan is considered to be a “moderate” Islamic regime. India, with all its religious violence, is still a democratic country. Fortunately, even though it has the second largest number of Muslims as any country in the world, they are still a minority and don’t threaten India’s democratic traditions. The instability of the Pakistani military dictatorship does not come from secularists, but from Islamists.

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Donald R. McClarey

posted July 12, 2006 at 12:14 pm

India and Pakistan are a perennial sore point. If a jihadist government ever comes to power in Pakistan, I fear the world will be very close to its first nuclear war.

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posted July 13, 2006 at 5:55 am

And Muslims are the evil of evils forever and ever. Never mind that most Christian Americans have NO IDEA what’s going on in India, Pakistan or points in between in that part of the world. Demonizing Muslims, because one group of them attacked us, is all that matters.

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